Perfect, Yummy Cranberry Sauce

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 14, 2021

Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan, saving 1/2 cup and transferring to a small bowl. 

Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. 

Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. 

Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Source:  Food Network

Winter Minestrone

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 11, 2021


Who doesn't love soup on chilly winter days. It's soul soothing, warm and wonderful.

This Minestrone is so good and it freezes really well.  I'm a big fan of Ball wide mouth jars for freezing soup.  I just leave three inches of headspace to allow for expansion, don't put the lid on until it's fully frozen and it freezes beautifully.  So, if you're in the mood for soup, this adaptation from Giada DeLaurentis is just that good!

1 onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces lean (8 percent fat) ground beef - sometimes I omit this
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
4 cups low-sodium beef broth - I use better than beef bouillon a very large tablespoon scoop of it 
1 can of italian diced tomatoes
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, Great Northern Beans work well
One 15-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 head of chopped cabbage
1/2 cup of ditalini pasta
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, optional
Turn Instant Pot to saute and brown ground beef, if using.  Add the rest of ingredients, pressure for 3 minutes, Quick Release, TURN INSTANT POT OFF - then I just let it set until it cools.

No Instant Pot, just put it in the slow cooker for 4 hours or simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.  Anyway you cook it, it's a winner!

The Best Healthy, Delicious Taco Soup

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 10, 2021

I've made this soup countless times.  It started with an old Weight Watcher recipe and I tweaked and tasted until I got it right. It's easy, delicious and good for you...

1 lb. cooked chicken breast.  Rotisserie chicken is an easy way to make this, I also used Kirkland Canned Chicken Breast from Costco sometimes
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 ounce pkg Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Mix, I like El Paso
1-15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
2-15 ounce can kidney or red beans rinsed and drained
1 bag frozen corn
2-15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, I used mild
1 can green chiles
14.5 ounce can chicken broth 

I'm an Instant Pot girl, so I just dump all of this in the Instant Pot, pressure for 5 minutes, quick release. No Instant Pot, no problem, just simmer on your stove for 20-30 minutes until onion is tender.

If you're not a chicken lover, just substitute 1/2 pound lean ground beef if you're watching calories, if not, take a walk on the wild side and add an entire pound 😏. Then substitute a can of beef broth for the chicken broth, either way you make it it's a great recipe.

Paula Deen's Savannah Red Rice

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 09, 2021

I made after watching Paula make it in a video. It was so good, we loved it and served it with Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes and crusty bread. Yes, mashed potatoes, don't judge 😜 corn is good with this, too. This recipe is very similar to jambalaya without all the creole seasoning, I like it so much better than jambalaya. 

1 cup chopped onion - I used a large onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper - I used a whole yellow pepper

2 tablespoons butter

I used 1/2 lb. of garlic kielbasa, cut a thick piece, then cut the piece into 4ths, just use whole ring if you want more meat

1 (14.5 oz) can with juice crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon hot sauce - I used Franks. Don't cut back on the hot sauce, this was just the perfect amount, it wasn't hot, just a little spicy. If you like more heat, just serve hot sauce at the table.

1 small 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup water - next time I will use 1-1/8 cup water because my 8 oz. of tomato sauce didn't measure quite a full cup

1 heaping Tablespoon Chicken Better than Bouillon

salt to taste, I didn't add much salt, maybe 1/4 tsp, the bouillon is salty

pepper to taste

1 cup uncooked Instant Rice

Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper in butter. Add sausage; heat until mixture is slightly browned. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, tomato sauce, water and bouillon cubes. Season with pepper and salt as needed. Stir in rice. Pour mixture into a greased 9x 12 casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. She leaves it totally uncovered, I covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 15 and it was perfect.

Pumpkin Custard

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, September 08, 2021

Let's go back, way back to September 16, 1997.  I sent my bestie, V a recipe for Pumpkin Custard.  I loved that recipe and thought she would enjoy it as well.  Well, me, being me, lost the recipe, many times, MANY times, and I would have to ask her for it and she always came thru.  For some reason I never posted this online and it was on the hard drive of my old computer that crashed and had to be reformatted and I lost it once again.

Meridee's Breadbasket Swedish Coleslaw

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, August 16, 2021

 If you're in the Nashville area, Meridee's Breadbasket in Franklin is definitely something you won't want to miss.  Our family loves Meridee's, it's my favorite restaurant, wonderful food, fresh baked pies (the key lime is ahh-mazing and you can never go wrong with the cherry)  homemade bread, what's not to love.

The Best Recipe Ever for Freezing Corn

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, June 29, 2021


This is an old, really old, family recipe from the Missouri cousins on mother's side of the family, shared with me from another cousin ❤️  I first made this August of 2020 and it is wonderful.  

Pasta Primavera

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, April 14, 2021

 This was ah-mazing.  So good and so easy...

The original recipe came from TheVegLife, but I made substitutions since hubby isn't a fan of zucchini and summer squash.  I used a large onion, a yellow pepper, matchstick carrots and mushrooms.  Next time I may add water chestnuts. I know, I know, its not Asian, but it would give it a nice crunch.  Another alternative would be to roast the veggies in a 450 degree oven and then proceed with recipe.  Grilled chicken would be a great option, too.

Lasagna Roll Ups with Bechamel Sauce

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, December 01, 2020


My friend, Carlene, gave me this recipe years ago and I misplaced it. I’ve searched for a couple of days, finally gave up, and she graciously sent it to me again. I’m not losing it this time, she is a wonderful cook and I posted this so I don’t lose it again.  She covers this when she bakes it, uncovering at end to brown a bit.

Mandarin Almond Salad

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, November 02, 2020

 This recipe dates back to the 70's, when I was a young mother.  It was given to me by my next door neighbor, she was a really special lady, and a great cook.  This is so simple, but it's excellent.